The Public Call Office concept was mooted last year

In an attempt to bring down incidents of cellular phone usage inside the prisons, the ambitious project of providing Public Call Office (PCO) access to prisoners with regulated access is likely to become a reality in Coimbatore Central Prison in the next two to three weeks.

Talking to The Hindu , Superintendent of Central Prison, S. Rajendran said the prison manual prevents entry and presence of a number of items and primary among them is the cellular phone. While checks continue to prevent smuggling of beedi, cigarettes, pan and gutkha, the PCO concept will bring down attempts to smuggle cellular phones inside the prison.

The Public Call Office concept was mooted last year and the works commenced. Now, the Coimbatore Central Prison with 1,700 inmates including 894 convicts, eight detenus and the rest accounting for remand and under-trial prisoners will have eight PCOs.

The booths have been installed and the cable work is under way.

The access for the prisoners to the PCO will be through bio-metric cards.

Three numbers

Each prisoner will be at liberty to dial three numbers and will have to submit those numbers in advance and will be configured in the system providing access only for those numbers.

The numbers will have to be that of family members, relatives, friends and lawyers.

Each call could be for 10 minutes.

The call charges will be taken from the wages earned by the prisoner.

Remand prisoners

Under-trials and remand prisoners, who are not assigned any work to earn wages, could meet the call charges from their personal cash deposited by them with the prison at the time of remand or by their family members, prison sources said.

The PCOs are likely to become functional within the next 15-20 days, officials said. In Tamil Nadu, all the 12 prisons are getting the facility including the three exclusive prisons for women.


  • The booths have been installed and the cable work is under way

  • The call charges will be taken from the wages earned by the prisoner


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